STORY: Madam Chief Minister may be a fictional account of the ups and downs within the lifetime of a strong Dalit leader, who goes on to become the primary woman chief minister of India’s most populous and politically charged state Uttar Pradesh .
REVIEW: during a chilling opening scene, writer-director Subhash Kapoor shows us how a Dalit groom’s procession, finishes up during a bloody shootout, simply because it inconveniences a Thakur family. within the commotion that ensues, a poor Dalit man Roop Ram is killed, minutes before his wife delivers yet one more girl child. this is often Uttar Pradesh of 1982, where gender and caste discrimination are rampant and infanticide may be a common practice.
Cut to 2005 and therefore the girl child Tara (Richa Chadha) has grown up to become a fiery and hot-headed girl , whose whirlwind affair with an upcoming politician, almost costs her, her life. Just then, a respected grass-root level Dalit leader Masterji (Saurabh Shukla) takes her under his wing and thus begins her journey into the murky world of politics and power.
Kapoor gives us a busy screenplay with myriad events and challenges in his protagonist’s life and this keeps the narrative flowing with unpredictable plot twists. Sure, some conflicts resolve too conveniently and a few twists clearly seem implausible, but the very fact that Tara’s character is so strikingly almost like UP’s former CM, we all know that in politics, nothing is impossible.
Of course, the manufacturers strain hard to form Tara appear as if the hero of their story – powerful yet pained and ballsy yet betrayed, often. But Kapoor’s writing devotes little time to the evolution of Tara, from a rank nobody to a seasoned politician, despite the very fact that she isn’t shown to harbour any political ambitions. This robs it of some conviction within the narrative that desperately tries to see all the boxes of a pulsating political potboiler.
That said, the film’s unwavering commitment to being an easy and nondescript entertainer, works. Despite packing in too many ground level issues like casteism, lawlessness and vote-bank politics, its over-arching theme remains loyal to Tara’s personal journey.
This makes it more interesting and Richa Chadha’s brand of laidback performance, grows on us, her shoddy wig, notwithstanding. Her best scenes are with Saurabh Shukla, who steals the show together with his terrific restrain and realistic portrayal of Tara’s idealistic mentor. Manav Kaul as Danish Khan and Akshay Oberoi as Indu, had best in their respective parts.
Kapoor keeps his dialogues extremely pedestrian, only sometimes , throwing in lines like, ‘UP mein jo metro banata hai woh haarta hai aur jo mandir banaata hai wohi jeetata hai.’ Thankfully, there are not any unnecessary item numbers or songs to hamper the pace. The film’s non-glossy and unglamorous canvas, blends well with its earthy tonality.
Madam Chief Minister gets our vote for being an entertaining political drama, set within the crime-infested corridors of power.